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Republican McNamara in Windsor Hills and independent Jarrell in Hollins would best serve Roanoke County.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Roanoke County will lose two valuable, seasoned supervisors with the departure next year of Chairman Mike Altizer and Supervisor Richard Flora, both of whom declined to run again. That makes next Tuesday a critical Election Day for the county.
Voters who appreciate its fine quality of life must replace the pair with smart, middle-of-the-road candidates they can trust to steer a steady course through challenging times.
Voters seeking fiscally sound leadership need to reject the tea party-tinged populism of incumbent Ed Elswick, an independent seeking a second term in the Windsor Hills District, and return Republican Joe McNamara to office.
And they should reject both major party candidates in Flora’s Hollins District in favor of Gary Jarrell, a less than nimble performer at candidates’ forums, but the one candidate in that race with a broad understanding of local government and how to keep it working well for the overall good.
This will be essential as the county comes to terms with the daunting challenge of meeting federal regulations to control both the volume and the quality of stormwater runoff. At the same time, it will have to deal with pressure to maintain excellent public schools as the state shifts a growing portion of the cost onto localities.
Elswick’s single term has been singularly ineffective, and should be enough to convince Windsor Hills voters to vote for McNamara, whom Elswick narrowly defeated in the 2009 party primary.
Elswick, who dropped his party affiliation the next year, is an unapologetic maverick who has neither the understanding nor patience for the give-and-take of representative governance.
Most recently, his hopelessly muddled private property rights resolution was roundly, and rightly, rejected by fellow board members as a threat to new and expanding businesses, the economic lifeblood of any community.
McNamara is a small-business owner and certified public accountant. He held the seat for 12 years as a traditional fiscal conservative and says he would try to make targeted cuts in county spending. Yet he understands it is the proper role of government to provide things the private sector will not.
In the Hollins District, meanwhile, Al Bedrosian is a Republican of the tea party variety who would not even have the state use tax dollars to extend Amtrak into the Roanoke Valley. He favors across-the-board spending cuts and a gradual reduction in the county’s tax rate.
In three three-way contest for the open seat, Democrat Brian Lang has made the most news with his laundry list of goodies to hand out to Hollins voters: a new library, farmer’s market, doggie parks. All nice amenities. None in the county’s comprehensive plan.
Jarrell, a county planning commissioner for 12 years and owner of a small business, is clearly the adult in this race. He has Flora’s strong support. He will play well with others.
Planning Commission Chairman Jason Peters is running unopposed for Altizer’s Vinton seat. With Jarrell and McNamara, the county can seat an experienced, knowledgeable board in January. It needs one.
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